One of the best ways to see the canal locks and Ottawa is aboard a scenic canal or river cruise. Cruises along this UNESCO World Heritage–listed waterway offer views from the water of notable attractions, like the National Arts Centre, Canadian Museum of Nature, Château Laurier, and Dow’s Lake. Guided bike tours of the Canadian capital often pass along the Rideau Canal path with a stop to watch as boats pass through the locks. One of the best views of the locks is from Plaza Bridge.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Ottawa Locks are a must-see for history buffs and families.
- Wheelchair accessible restrooms can be found inside the lockstation.
- Don’t forget to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat, especially if you’re taking a canal cruise.
How to Get There
The Ottawa Locks 1 to 8 run from the Chateau Laurier hotel to Carlton University. It’s easy to get there on foot or by bike.
When to Get There
If you want to see the Ottawa Locks in action, you’ll have to visit during the summer months (May to October). In winter, the canal freezes, becoming the world’s largest outdoor skating rink. Boats can pass through the locks until 4pm Monday to Thursday and 7pm on weekends and holidays.
Before you visit the Ottawa Locks, stop in for a visit at the Bytown Museum, housed in the city’s oldest stone building adjacent to the locks. The museum traces the history of Ottawa, including the planning and construction of the Rideau Canal between 1826 and 1832.
- Rideau Canal
- Confederation Square
- Ottawa Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica
- National Gallery of Canada (Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada)
- ByWard Market
- Ottawa Parliament Hill
- Royal Canadian Mint
- Canadian Museum of History
- Canadian Museum of Nature
- Canadian War Museum
- Rideau Hall
- Preston Street (Little Italy)
- Canada Aviation and Space Museum
- Gatineau Park